[p2p-research] Fwd: 20 Theses against green capitalism

Smári McCarthy smari at anarchism.is
Fri Aug 7 03:59:24 CEST 2009

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Michel Bauwens wrote:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: *Dante-Gabryell Monson* <dante.monson at gmail.com
> 20. The chance that governments will come up with a 'good deal' in
> Copenhagen is slim to none. Our aim must therefore be to demand
> agreement on real solutions. Failing that: to forget Kyoto, and shut
> down Copenhagen! (whatever the tactic)
> shutting down copenhagen would certainly be legitimate, given the
> paucity of results that are to be expected ...

The British shut down Copenhagen in 1801 and then again in 1807. Others
have also shut down Copenhagen, but to what end?

While these theses start off on the right track and are very insightful,
about half way through they start to sound like some rare form of
enlightened primitivism, hopping back into old fashioned idiotic
primitivism at end.

The situation is simple. We need to change our ways of living very very
substantially, globally, right now.

I pose a challenge to each of you: Decrease your daily environmental
footprint by 1/3.

I've been trying to do this for a while. Since I moved in to my new
apartment (where I'm living with four other people) we've decreased the
apartment's daily electricity consumption from 23.87 kWh/day on average
to 13.62 kWh/day on average. We have six trashcans for different types
of waste, and try to grow some of our own stuff.

How much am I really decreasing my environmental footprint? Probably not
a lot. The fact is that it's really really hard to do without decreasing
one's quality of life. I could clearly cut down significantly by
refusing to fly, but that would strand me on this little island. Even by
refusing to fly, there's still a large part of my footprint generated by
travel by boat and car (about 50/50, oddly enough), not to mention the
fact that I occasionally indulge in meat (albeit to a decreasing degree)...

So at what point do we say, fine, I'm going to change my way of life so
dramatically that I'm going to really feel it? And at which point have
enough people done that so that we don't all end up dead?

The primitivist way out is just as futile as the capitalist's way out
for a number of reasons. Not least in that in developing countries where
the environmental footprint is far lower than here, there's still
alarming levels of toxic waste, littering, deforestation, poor graywater
management, water shortages, and so on and so forth...

So what do we do?

Well. Copenhagen is a fairly modest attempt. It's never going to be
enough. The only thing that's anywhere close to being enough is
returning to a preindustrial era in a lot of things while remaining in a
postindustrial level in some others. The implications are impossible to
map out and in general it's a big clusterfuck. Or, what we could do is
realize that it's our collective asses on the line and that what we need
the most right now is less commercialization and more cooperation. We
need something akin to a new Manhattan project, aimed at figuring out
all the complicated shit we're going to need to understand in order to
fix things.

At the end of the day it's not primitivism that's going to save us. It's
not necessarily technology either, although that will certainly help.
It's a clear understanding that we are capable of doing whatever it is
to the world we want, we have demonstrated our unending capacity for
change, and now we just have to decide what it is we want our planet to
be like.

So second challenge right here: Describe the world as you would like it
to be.

Forgive the rant.

 - Smári

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